Gotta be handy with the steel {15}

It was a busy weekend for a lot of folks in Toronto and as such my boys The Regulators were short a couple of players. Now, I haven’t played a full game of baseball in probably 10 years so I was pretty apprehensive about donning a jersey and swinging the old bat around but I went out, played two solid games of baseball in the rain and had a whale of a good time doing it. I’m normally pretty hard on myself but I feel like I played pretty well overall and am looking forward to playing some more and hopefully uppin’ my baseball game!

Regulators Softball Toronto

Regulators Softball Toronto

Regulators Softball Toronto

Regulators Softball Toronto

Regulators Softball Toronto

The politics of skin
I’ve been vegan for close to half my life at this point and I’ve had plenty of time to weigh different options and make my decisions based on what I think is right vs. what I think will make me a “better vegan”.

Plastics / synthetic materials (like those found in POS baseball gloves) are often extremely environmentally unfriendly and often don’t last the way that leather does – with that said I don’t feel comfortable walking into a store and buying leather as if it weren’t the skin off an animal’s back so used leather is a good option for those of us that see the usefulness of the material but don’t want to contribute directly to the cycle.

If I’m going to start playing baseball regularly, or even if I just wanna chuck around the ball with my girl I figured I might as own a decent glove. It’s the type of thing that a guy like me only needs to buy once in a lifetime so I figured what the hell? Fortunately for me, I was able to find this Rawlings, barely used but worked in enough to already be comfortable for a good price – ethics in check, wallet in good shape.

Regulators Softball Toronto

I mean, if I really wanted to avoid buying a leather glove I supposed I could have gotten a custom made Carpenter but $50 for a good quality, lightly used leather glove vs. $250 for a Carpenter? To quote Dr. Italiano aka Robbie Blyth: Not gonna happen, not today.

After the games we hit up the Rogers Picnic at Fort York (Thanks Hammie / Debbie) and got there just in time to catch the second half of Cat Power’s set. She sounded great but was maybe a little boring / disengaged so we went and stole some chairs from the Nokia booth and found a nice place to sit down before posting up in the VI; undetected like a stealth.

Cat Power

Rogers Picnic

C & C Music Factory, who headlined the fest, were incredible and have a really soulful, almost bluesy sound when playing live that I really enjoy. During the set, these two giant (10’ +) glowing globes made their way out into the crowd and my lady took off like a bat out of hell to get her hands on one of them and bash it into the section we were standing in. The festival staff, who were trying desperately to maintain control of the balls, were hopelessly outgunned. We win!

Rogers Picnic

Rogers Picnic

Rogers Picnic

Rogers Picnic

On a somewhat unrelated note: one of the things that my lady noticed about the festival, which I wholeheartedly agree with, is what a good job they did “branding” the event – every little sign; from the Food, to the Beer Gardens, to the Hand Sanitization Station was written in the festival font – these are the types of details that are often overlooked and I think that if you’re going to try to create a unique feeling at an event like this, a cohesive brand strategy is a great way to do it. Well done, Adam.

On a completely unrelated note: the last time I was at Fort York was probably 20 years ago as a cub scout – we spent the night in the barracks and Bernie Attard stole Charles Kenwright’s teddy bear and spent the better part of the night farting on it in his bunk. The next trip we took as cubs was to Rattlesnake Point – Charles made the mistake of bringing his teddy and it was unanimously voted that it would be thrown off the Escarpment. We were terrible kids. RIP Teddy.

Strange Waves {1}

I really do value my summer weekends in the city but it’s nice to get out from time to time so on Saturday Taylor, Chris and I headed up to the Hammell’s cottage to put in some time on the bikes and at the beach.

Taylor… Oh my… I had no idea…

I think around 50k – 60k is the perfect (fixed) ride for me – just long enough to feel like you’ve done something and short enough that you can still walk / sit down the next day.

I love how hard Chuck reps that SIOA Alleyway Dragon T-shirt!

Just a little creepy…

Not creepy at all… a truely lovely family.

I got back into the city just in time to whip over to the Horsehoe to catch Quest For Fire at their much anticipated CD Release Show. I’ll admit, I’m really disappointed that “Lights From Paradise” didn’t make the cut as it’s my favorite QFF jam but the record is a real gem regardless. Simple, (100% recycled) cardboard packaging and cover art from Andre Ethier rounds out the record nicely – I highly recommend picking it up if you’re into altered states and 9 minute epics.

Quest For Fire

Quest For Fire

Quest For Fire

Oh, and for those if you that like pretty things hung on walls, be sure to check out Ottawa transplant Hayden Menzies at the Whippersnapper Gallery until the end of the month.

Hayden Menzies

Hayden Menzies

Don’t Drop The Soap, Fella. {1}

I made mention yesterday of Igor, owner the infamous Toronto bicycle chop shop, finally getting arrested in connection with a bike theft. Well, when we got home from Evil Dead I got a phone call from Killen saying that he’d heard that the content’s of Igor’s “shop” were being loaded into police trucks.

Igors Toronto Chop Shop

Igors Toronto Chop Shop

Igors Toronto Chop Shop

Igors Toronto Stolen Bikes

We got up there a few minutes later and sure enough, there were the police, firemen and an increasing number of onlookers in front of the shop. There was one fully loaded truck pulling away when we got there, another that got filled while we stood there and 2 more waiting in the wings… Who knows how many more were filled before we got there and after we left.

Igors Toronto Stolen Bikes

Igors Toronto Stolen Bikes

The story, as I got it at the scene, was that Igor didn’t make bail and they were clearing out his shop (and 4 other storage spaces) as they were considered a fire hazard. I don’t know what the official plan for the confiscated bicycles is at this point but I was told that there would be a press release issued in the near future inviting people to claim their bicycles with the police – with some sort of proof of ownership of course.

Igors Toronto Stolen Bikes

I don’t think this will be the “end” of Igor by any stretch but needless to say, there are a lot of happy bikesters in the city right now.

UPDATE: If you’ve had your bike stolen in the last while it might be worth going down to the Central Garage, 9 Hanna Street,
on Saturday, July 19, 2008, and Sunday, July 20, 2008, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to see if it ended up there.

Check out the police press release here

There Will Be Blood {2}

Evil Dead - The Musical

I couple of weeks ago I won a draw for free Evil Dead (the musical) tickets at work. Now, I may not have always been the manliest of men but I’ve also never been much for the showtunes so I accepted the tickets thinking that in all likelihood I’d give them away in the end.

With neither my special lady friend nor I being the “musical” types I was a little apprehensive for the first part of the show because people were laughing and we weren’t. That’s either a sign that they are all getting something that we aren’t or vice versa – so either we’re in a room full of huge losers or we are the huge losers, neither scenario being particularly attractive. Sure enough, though, one by one the laughter came and as we loosened up the show got better and better until it erupted into a pretty hilarious bloodbath of song and dance. Hell, I want to break into song right now just thinking about it.

In any case – it’s no wonder that it keeps getting extended as it’s a pretty sweet show and I definitely recommend checking it out. If you’re a Gwar fan then you definitely want to sit in the front row and wear a white t-shirt… trust me.

As an interesting sidenote: things came full circle for me last night as Toronto comedian “Nug” took the stage as the character Jake. Years ago, my good friend Mike’s mom worked at the CBC and she’d get us extra work and odd jobs from time to time and one night we spent some time hangin’ out with the aforementioned Nugster. During this time, he said all kinds of hilarious shit but the thing that stuck with me the most was his impersonation of his drunk father sittin’ in the lazyboy, beer in one hand and the remote in the other, trying to get the tv to work saying “Whuddarwedoing? Wherarwegoing? Make ‘er go!” And so… the term had been officially coined and the rest is history.

The Bicycle Thief {11}

Last night was a momentous night here in Toronto – Igor Kenk (yeah, that Igor) was arrested in connection with… you guessed it… a bike theft. Now, I’m sure that at least some of Igor’s reputation is a result of exaggeration and urban legend but there is no doubt that the guy actively and knowingly buys and sells stolen bikes. Funny; the Sun (of all papers!) was the first paper to give him a voice a couple of days ago and now are also the first ones reporting his arrest.

Shutting down the likes of Igor is a step in the right direction in reducing the amount of theft in the city but I don’t think that we can count on the city or the police to do much of anything about it in the grand scheme of things – although admittedly the bait bike / sting that busted Igor was obviously effective.

Let’s face it – it’s not that police officers don’t care personally but dealing with bike theft on an individual basis is an overwhelming task. It’s not like they can put out an APB on an all black fixed gear they way they would on a raised camo truck with Rampage Jackson painted on the side.

Rampage Jackson

I’ve heard of the police checking in at La Carerra to look for $6000 road bikes but generally speaking if your average bicycle gets stolen then you’ll be told by the police that they’ll call you if it turns up. With few exceptions, if you don’t catch the person on the street with your bike soon after it went missing, it’s gonzo for good.

As for the city; a couple of years ago it was discovered that the city of Toronto’s locking posts were easily defeated with a simple 2×4 and a little bit of leverage. In response the city started doubling up the rings but I don’t know how far they got but very few (almost none) of the posts I see on a regular basis have the beefed up double ring. In fact, an embarrassingly large number of them don’t even have one!

City Of Toronto Bike Posts

One of the largest reasons that bicycles are so amazing is because you can get around the city extremely quickly and efficiently but that is also one of the things that makes them so desirable to steal – if you can get that bike away from it’s lock or out of it’s owner’s sight you can be gone in an instant and this city is so full of babies that are too afraid to do something when they seem someone obviously stealing a bike / components.

I’ve often wanted to set up a bait bike but I guess the question is; what do we do with the thieves once we’ve caught them? I’ve always wanted to beat the living tar out of a bike thief but it would seem a lot more justified as a spur of the moment reaction to some dickwad with his hands all over my stuff as opposed to something so premeditated; I would presume that the fuzz would see it in the same way. The idea of setting up a brakeless freewheeled bike to look like a fixed gear and then chasing the would-be thief into traffic is also pretty appealing but I don’t think I’d be able to shake the responsibility if the guy got seriously hurt or even killed.

The police estimate that somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 bikes go missing every year which doesn’t even take into account the amount of components (seats, posts, wheels, etc.) that go missing. So, where are all these bikes / parts going? It’s unlikely that Igors or Uncle Jacobs could realistically move that kind of volume with the sort of public scrutiny they are under and I don’t see all that many of the bikes that I’ve known of ending up on craigslist or ebay so where? Are people parting them out and riding them? Hiding them in their basements for a couple of years before selling? Taking vanloads to Montreal then loading up with MTL bikes to sell here? Where do they go?

More importantly, what are we supposed to do about it? I don’t leave my bike outside if I can control it, use multiple locks when locking up for any amount of time, glue ballbearings into my allen heads / have considered switching over to torx heads, etc. but what we all know that those are all just deterrents – a good thief can get through anything if they want your bike badly enough.

At the end of the day, the only thing you can do is lock your bike in visible areas with quality locks, make sure your components aren’t easily removed and for christ’s sake – if you see someone stealing someone else’s shit and are physically able to, DO something!

In a related note; here are just a few bikes that belong(ed) to folks I know that have gone missing in the last couple of weeks. If you see someone riding or selling them, kindly liberate their bikes for them.

Stolen Bike Toronto

Stolen Bike Toronto

Colin’s Langster (outdated)
Specialized Langster - Stolen

Colin’s Langster (recent)
Specialized Langster - Stolen

Colin’s Kokanee
Norco Kokanee - Stolen

On the plus side – Colin lost two bikes (and parts / a pump) in a garage break-in but at least it allowed him to get this;
Marinoni Pista

Also be on the look out for my friend Lyndsey‘s wheels that went missing earlier this week while she was out skating.

Front: Mavic 6xp33 (650) laced to Formula Track hub
Rear: Mavic DA22 (700) laced to Formula Track hub

In another related note; if you’ve got a nice Brooks saddle, be sure to lock that shit down! Brooks theft in this city seems to be reaching epidemic proportions.

Crikey! {6}

I was lucky enough to get out of town last Thursday & Friday to go to the 5th annual InViVo Cottage Wkd at Honey Harbor for some team building type stuff along with swimming, wakeboarding, kayaking, marathon drinking, etc.

My team (Nicole Kidman, Kylie & Dani Minogue, Mick Dundee and of course Steve Irwin RIP) won the amazing race / scavenger hunt and also took best in show! Sure, it’s super nerdy but for any of you reading that actually know me – have I ever been worried about being a bit of a nerdbomber?

Seriously, check out those NOS Boris Becker sunnies – ridiculous!!!

It was nice, as well, to get back into town before the weekend actually started so I was still able to enjoy my weekend biking around and hanging out with friends which is pretty much all I need to keep me happy.

I love my life. My knees are feelin’ a little better these days and my pink eye has cleared up so expect more bike related content in the coming weeks…

The Thunder Rolls {7}

I joined the Missfits last night for softball practice with dark clouds looming overhead. We played through some rain but decided to call the practice once the lightning got too close and I think that was a solid decision given today’s headline in The Star.

Missfits Women's Softball

Missfits Women's Softball

Missfits Women's Softball

Getting home early gave me a chance to roughly assemble the barnboard frames that I chopped up last week.

Barnboard Frames

Some of the cuts were a little rough but didn’t take much cleaning up at all.

Barnboard Frames

Some of the joints go together perfectly but due to the nature of hundred year old wood pulled off the side of a barn the widths aren’t totally even the whole way down which left me with a few monkey joints that I’ll cut / sand / distress once I’ve got the backing on and the frame structure is solidified.

Barnboard Frames

Barnboard Frames

They seem to be reasonably square and I think are going to look beautiful when hung on my wall.

Barnboard Frames

While I was working on my frames I was thinking about how I would like to make some reclaimed timber shelving much like the ones my friend Rob Pilichowski makes except without the backplate so they have more of a floating shelf effect.

Cinder Design

A couple minutes after I finished my frames for the night I was lurkin’ around and coincidently found a little write up on Rob’s shelves on Apartment Therapy. Wild, wacky stuff!

Check out Rob’s work as Cinder Design, Propeller Blade & All Out War. Yeah, he’s a busy dude.

TV On The Interweebz {1}

Last night I was flipping around on YouTube and I came across the new TV On The Radio video which, to my surprise, was directed by my dear old friend and Caledon Wrestling Crew superstar Jeff Scheven. Good work, fella!

While I’m posting up TV On The Radio jams I might as well post up the song that turned me around on them. My boy Paul always used to try to get me to see the light but I was havin’ none of it – I just couldn’t stand this band but somehow hearing this song made me a believer and all of a sudden even the stuff I didn’t like previously became really digable.

Just like one of the Youtube comments says; I really hope that this is an official video. Somehow I doubt it but it’s sweet as all hell regardless.

Build & Burn {0}

Upon first listen to the new The Loved Ones record (Build & Burn) I wasn’t sure that it was anywhere near as good as their last record (Keep Your Heart) which has gotten pretty regular rotation from me over the last couple of years but I’ll be god damned if I didn’t find myself consistently singing “Louisiana” while zoomin’ around the city.

The Loved Ones - Toronto - July 2008

The band played Toronto last night and we made it there after dodgeball (Dirtballs!!! Still #1 on the court and in your hearts!) just in time for them to take the stage. Each time I see the band they have more members; the first time I saw them as a three piece but after the original bass player left the band two fellas from The Explosion joined the band bringing them to four and last night Dave Hause’s sister joined them on keys.

The Loved Ones - Toronto - July 2008

One thing that this band highlighted is Toronto punksters have absolutely no rhythm; zero, zip, zilch, none, nada! Every time there’d be an overhead clapping part à la Kidstreet the overzealous fans would just start clapping frantically – out of time with the song and each other. It happened so often and so badly that the singer of the band had to keep clapping excessively slow just to get them in line. Jesus, kids! It’s clapping!!! How can you mess that up so badly?

Don’t ask me what it’s for or why I bought it but I couldn’t resist the “Japanese Rock Towel”. So killer!

The Loved Ones - Japanese Rock Towel

Hot Time; Summer In The City {5}

I’ve been laying low a little bit for the last little week, trying to stay busy, enjoying my summer and let my poor old knees & tookus recover from last week’s Thursday 100s but here’s a quick recap of the last week or so of my life.

Polished off our work on Sparkles’ home reno project out in Upper Beaches Scarberia.

Tried to sneak into this old building on the east side but figured we’ll go back when we have proper flashlights and wooden stakes to fight off the vampires that live inside.

Fireworks are bad still!!

I’ve had a recent obsession with making my place look a little bit more homey and I figured some barnboard frames might help out a little bit but at $120 a pop (marked down from $140) I figured it’d be a fun little DIY project and when Ben mentioned that he and Nick had recently redone the Vice office in barnboard from his dad’s place and had some left over I jumped at the offer.

I swung by the officer where Nick was working on a shelving unit and banged out the framework but I still need to get some glass cut and build the backing.

I’m always amazed by what I can fit in this bag.

Breakie at Sadies with the fam.

Checked out the Forfeit, Crossroad, Eating Glass, etc. show at La Siesta Neauveax and had fun at a hardcore show for the first time in some time. Caught up with a lot of old friends and checked out some good jams. Stuck In The City are doing some great things for hardcore in this city.

What is this? A white T Shirt Convention?

Elijah quickly realized that he wasn’t wearing a white shirt and felt horribly out of place.

A quick thinker; he quickly remedied the situation and saved himself further embarrassment.

I, however, don’t mind the embarrassment.

I’ll tell you what I do mind, though… PINKEYE!

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Some friends of mine got it into their heads this week that Thursday night would be a good night of the week to do 100 Kilometer rides around the city and got it into my head that it would be a good idea to join them.

I’d been up and working all day, didn’t sleep all that well the night before and generally speaking I’m not in good enough shape right now to pull that off but when my plans fell through I had no legitimate excuse to miss it and I’d rather be the guy that tried and failed than the one that bailed from the start. *cough* diaper babies *cough*

We met up at 1 Yonge around 7:30 and headed East through The Beaches via The Lakeshore / Queen to Birchmount and headed directly North through Scarborough.

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Once we hit Steeles we took a short break and managed to get stuck in a bit of a torrential downpour. We hid out in a bus shelter for 15 minutes or so and it wasn’t letting up so we figured we might as well just get on with it – we’re going to get wet either way.

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Squishy socks and all; Cam, Liam, Ben & The Brothers Kaiser were usually a good couple minutes ahead and I was having some trouble keeping up so Aner and I had decided that we were going to drop off at around Steeles and Keele but when Robin, Toby and Miyako rolled up on us in our deliberation we decided to stick it out.

Somewhere in Woodbridge Liam took a bad bail which left him with a slightly warped front wheel and some good bumps and bruises. At that point we opted to cut south via Islington as opposed to cutting down Mississauga Road and back so we rolled through Rexdale and all the way back through Etobicoke to the Lakeshore where we headed west.

Always the gentleman, Liam was worried that we were cutting the ride short on his behalf. Don’t worry, buddy, I was more than happy to turn back at that point and the rest of the ride got a lot easier once I knew we were getting closer to home and not further away!

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

Thursday 100s

We checked in at about 80k which as far as I’m concerned was not bad for a bunch of old (well, some of us anyway) folks on a rainy Thursday night – not to mention the fact that I’m pushing 82.8 Gear Inches – something I would definitely drop a little on a ride of this length in the future. It’s nice not to spin out on the flats and the downhills but pulling 15-20 pounds of bike, 10 pounds of stuff on my on my back and all 215 pounds of me up hills in that gearing is only slightly more pleasurable than a swift kick in the nuts.

All in all; I don’t know that I could make it a weekly event but I feel great today in that “I feel like hell” sort of way and I’m really glad that I made it out. Thanks for the ride, boys and girl.

To check the route we took last night click here.

The Big Douche Chill {2}

My sister is punk as fuck! You think putting a “smash the state” icon on your Facebook page is punk? You’re going to have to try harder than that. D.I.Y. Circular Shawls? Now that’s punk!

Danielle

Danielle

Our boy Dan is in town until the end of the month and he laced Killen with this here script last week. Lookin’ sharp, bahd!

Sean Killen - Dan Smith Tattoos

Dan Smith

Chris Hammell

Rollin’ on 75s

When Trouble and I got bruck up in October Tony @ IRO whipped together a Mark V Pro but quick and sent it out to me to get me back on the road as soon as I was well enough to ride. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any stock IRO 165’s in stock (which, even for a cheaper crank, I actually like a lot) so he threw on some FSA Veros with an IRO chainring. I appreciated that he got the bike to me so quickly but right away I knew I hated the cranks.

FSA Vero Crankset

Visually, they’re too broad and flat across the top for my liking but thin where it counts which I figure accounts for some of how overly flexy they are. The pedal holes are drilled out fairly far from the end of the arm which tells me that FSA uses one crank arm for all arm lengths and just drills for pedals depending on what length they’re selling the cranks as. It makes sense from a manufacturing perspective, they are cheap cranks after all but it does serve to highlight that fact.

Funny little side-story about the FSA Vero Crankset: A friend at a local shop said that a guy that comes in from time to time was praising the FSA Veros saying that “he used to have those crappy RPMs” and he hated them but now he’s got the Veros and they’re really great! Brother, have you ever looked at the backside of those FSA Cranks?

FSA Vero Crank Set

I’ve had my eyes set firmly on the Sugino 75s for some time but with a crankset that retails for around $250 locally, plus $120 for the chainring, not to mention that I’d need a new bottom bracket – they’ve always sat pretty far out of my price range. Well, the bici gods have been kind to me and shown me a little mercy this week because I got hooked uuuuuup! Thanks fellas!

Sugino 75 Crankset

IRO Mark V Pro

On a totally unrelated note: has anyone else noticed an abundance of young people rippin’ around the city on unicycles?

Kids on Unicycles?

BFF 2008 – Day 03 {10}

Thanks to Brent, Benny, Sean, Sarah & all the sponsors and especially the countless volunteers (esp. the Toronto Bike Union for the Valet Parking) who made the 2008 Bicycle Film festival such a great success.

BFF 2008 – Day 02

BFF 2008 – Day 01 {2}

The Bicycle Film Festival started off for me this year pretty much the exact same way as it did last year… partyin’ with Spark Dizzle and then moving on to the BFF Joy Ride art show at the Studio Gallery with Killen and Kamphof.

To The Lions

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

“Bicycle

This piece was amazing – not only because it’s a gratuitous boob shot but because it was in the middle of a relatively small floor space and it made for great entertainment watching drunk ocad girls in heels stomp all over it time and time again.

“Bicycle

Nothing quite like changing a flat over dinner – two in one night for the Killer!

“Bicycle

“Bicycle